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News and information about WSCL's Classical Music Programming

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Just Opened - April 24, 2015 - Strong Music by Strong Women

After pulling together today's program, I realized the unifying feature of today's Just Opened seems to be women in leadership, in music that is at least partially confrontational.  Strong music by Strong women.

Our Just Opened program today strongly features women, up front, and in leadership positions of several groups.   From the established virtuoso pianist, Anne-Marie McDermott, internationally renowned violinist and leader/founder of La Pieta, Angele Dubeau, to long term orchestral harpist Gretchen Van Hoesen, and a "brassy" new breakout artist, trumpeter Mary Elizabeth Bowden.

Mary Elizabeth Bowden, trumpet
Bowden's Official Website
Summit DCD 655
ISBN# 0 99402 65592 5
Today's guest host for Just Opened, Tom Hehman, will be able to wax poetic about the skills of trumpeter Bowden.   This CD is a mixed group of new works for trumpet and...  (mostly piano, but a few trios).  As with many current "recital CDs"  many the works are frankly difficult to listen to, challenging in the sense of not only modern concert music, but - as we have a trumpet in the forefront - the kind of Dizzy Gillespe inspired jazz improvization that can feel... interminable.  If you're a fan of that, you'll find even the most challenging works here a piece of cake.  In contrast, there are the works by composer Joseph Turrin, which  are melodic and highly accessible, what some would call "modern classical."  We closed the program today with a fascinating new work called "Totem Voices" in which each movement represents one of the animal/spirits on a totem pole, it is the best of both worlds, exploratory, intellectually engaging, and tuneful.

Noah Bendix-Balgley, violin
Gretchen Van Hoesen, harp
Anne Martindale Williams, cello
Bendix-Balgley's Official Website
More info on Van Hoesen
More info on Williams
ISBN# 7 00261 40684 8
As with a piano trio, where the piano is both the foundation and often the leader of the trio, this position is often fullfilled by the upright "keyboard" instrument, the harp.  On this CD, this parallel is probably most obvious in the opening Haydn work, where the harps plays the part that is most often heard played on piano.  The major work on this CD is Henriette Renie's Symphonic Trio which is a major chamber work by any standard.  The program on this CD adds a splash of color with Reynaldo Hahn's art song "A Chloris" with the violin taking the vocal line, and closes with the spice of a closing piece by Carlos Gardel.

Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann
Alexander Beridze, piano
Beridze's Official Website
NY Classics
ISBN# 8 88295 19046 6
Georgian pianist Beridze has performed at Carnegie Hall, and been hailed as an "exceptional artist" by American Record Guide, and won the 2009 Cincinnati World Piano Competition.  He has a touring schedule, and regular recital program "packages."  This CD represents the majority of his recital program No. 1, and gives an opportunity to those of us who can not travel around to the great halls of the world to hear his polished performances of these accessible and beloved great piano showpieces.

Angele Dubeau, violin
La Pieta
Dubeau's Official Website
More info on La Pieta
Analekta 2 8738
ISBN# 7 74204 87382 0
Angele Dubeau and her (all female chamber ensemble) La Pieta have an impressive body of recordings, from very traditional to a very focused attention to contemporary works and composers.  Notably, a few years ago, they released a CD of recordings of "game music" arranged for chamber orchestra - highlighting the rich beauty and evocative nature of much of this game music.  Einaudi's has composed music for many modern films, with a sound world that is both "classically trained" and infused with a sense of pop, rock, and modern musical forms.  Film music, especially that of today, has a "waiting" quality.  That is, of course, essential to music for film... it has to fill an emotional mood with a certain consistency to provide an emotional background, and then POP or FIZZ or swing to an extreme emotional change in connection with the screen image and action.  Unlike the lush film scores of the 1940s, for the most part today, this means music that is quiet and repetitive or tensely brooding.  Being a full CD of the works of one composer gives the program a continuity that will be boring for some, and for others, uniquely fullfilling.

Anne-Marie McDermott, piano
with Scott Yoo conducting
Odense Symphony Orchestra
McDermott's Official Website
BRIDGE 9438 - 2CD set
ISBN# 0 90404 94382 9
My Delight of the Week! & Gift Giver's Delight!  Established, critically acclaimed, internationally recognized and classically oriented could all be said of McDermott.   While she has performed & recorded the works of Prokofiev and Scriabin, she seems to have a particular affinity and affection for the Classical era.  To her previous recordings of Mozart she now adds a 2 CD set of Haydn sonatas, each CD culminating in one of his Piano Concertos.  This CD provides so much of what many classical listeners yearn for.   Mature, literate, polished performances of not only great solo piano repertoire, but the increasingly difficult to find orchestral releases of traditional Classical era works.  McDermott performs over 100 concerts a year around the world, and has been a working respected professional for over 25 years.  A marvelous addition to any concert library.

Thanks again to our S.U. practicum, Taylor Goebel, for pulling together the pics, links, and basic info. on today's CDs.   Join us again next week as we open up new releases, and releases new to our library, on Just Opened, each Friday from 1PM to 4PM on WSCL 89.5FM.
Kara Dahl Russell

Friday, April 17, 2015

Just Opened - April 17th, 2015 - Composer Compendium

Vivaldi, Beethoven, Hill and Sor.   You may not know every name, but these composers today are essentially connected to the timeline of great composers!

Avi Avital, mandolin
Avital's Official Website
B0022627 02
ISBN# 0 28947 94017 3
My Delight of the Week!  Many "classical music" listeners remain on the fence regarding the place of the mandolin in serious concert music, but Avi Avital, through his combination of charisma, technical facility, and informed musical selections reminds us of the historic importance of the mandolin.  In previous releases, his transcriptions of Bach works reminded us of Bach's use of the lute,  and here we have it showcased as one of Vivaldi's favored instruments. 

Matt Haimovitz, cello
Christopher O'Riley, piano
2 CD set
Haimovitz's Official Website
O'Riley's Official Website
PTC 5186 475
ISBN# 8 27949 04756 5
Complete Sonatas and Variations for Pianoforte and Violoncello recorded on period instruments.  Two established performers have joined forces in this labor of love to perform works by one of the world's best loved Composers of all time.  The range of Beethoven's work for cello and piano can be viewed as a microcosm of his compositional output, as they grew from Classical to pushing the established norms.  The inclusion of the "lesser" but very accessible themes and variations helps give context to Beethoven's works for this instrumental combination and make it easy classical listening.

Symphony No. 4
Peter Bay, conductor
More info on Bay
ISBN# 0 90404 94432 1
His name is now mostly forgotten, but he taught some of the biggest names in American Music: Virgil Thompson, Elliott Carter, Roger Sessions, Walter Piston, Randall Thompson and Leonard Bernstein.  Hill studied in Paris with Carles Marie Widor, but along with many other composers of his day, Arthur Foote, Leo Sowerby, his works are largely passed over - as often happens with people at the end of a musical era.  When they are rediscovered, however, it means that they are easy on the ear, as you will find with this collection of works for piano and orchestra by Hill.

The Guitar Works of Fernando Sor
Jeff Dwarshuis, guitar
Dwarshuis's Official Website
CL 40014U
ISBN# 8 88295 19345 0
Gift-Giver's Delight!  Guitar music is always one of the easiest ways to introduce people to "classical" music.  In this case, it IS actually guitar music from the Classical era.  Sor's works were/are foundational for the guitar's acceptance as a "legitimate" instrument.  When Andre Segovia brought Sor's work back into the mainstream, we got to appreciate Sor's unique gift for embuing even pedogogical etudes with rich melodic content.   Dwarshius generously donated several of his CDs to be thank you gifts for our listeners who supported us during our drive.  His playing is clean and precise with musicality and warmth.   This Cd is an easy way to introduce friends and family to classical music and help them realize that there is a world of music to become familiar with, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Thanks again to our S.U. practicum Taylor Goebel for her help pulling together the web links, pictures and info. to help you find your favorite of today's new releases.  Join us again next week for more new CDs, Just Opened.
Kara Dahl Russell

Friday, April 10, 2015

Just Opened - April 10th, 2015

A lively combination of new works, traditional music, new takes on traditional works, and just plain musical fun - today on Just Opened!

Jorge Federico Osorio, piano
Osorio's Official Website
ISBN# 7 35131 91402 4
Osorio is a pianist familiar to our WSCL listeners.  This release from 2013 features the rarely performed or recorded 1940 Piano Concerto of Carlos Chavez, a combination of percussion and abstract angles combined with folk-influenced melodies create an exciting soundworld.  3 smaller works for piano complete the program.

Mozart for Flute & Orchestra
Robert Stallman, flute
Robert Stallman's Official Website
ISBN# 7 00261 41641 0
My Delight of the Week!  An ALL-MOZART program  of works that feature flute, featuring the seasoned artistry of Robert Stallman.  Katerina Englichova joins him for the Concerto for Harp and Flute, and  Isabelle Chapuis matches him note for note on the Concertante for 2 Flutes and Orchestra.  A new transcription of the Andante and Rondo from the Haffner Serenade completes this program that is everything you expect of great works for flute and orchestra, and Mozart.

Robert Benton, euphonium
Robert Benton's Official Website
ISBN# 6 70541 35918 1
Providing a wide range of music from a transcription of traditional Rossini, to a zippy work for varied vocals (reminiscent of Bobby McFerren) with euphonium, and a compelling, beautiful rendition of Arvo Part's "Mirror in Mirror"... this CD simultaneously shatters and exceeds your expectations of a Euphonium "recital" CD.

Amy Burton, soprano
Patrick Mason, baritone
John Musto, piano
John Musto's Official Website
ISBN# 0 90404 94302 7
Incredible pianist John Musto has been a regular on our WSCL playlists in his own compositions and others.  Here he turns his talented fingers to the swingtime finger twisters of Gershwin, Loesser and other favorite composers of the American Songbook.   Burton is a long time principal with the Met Opera, Mason trained at Peabody and is a frequently requested recording artist.   A fun, showy collection of showtunes!

Special Thanks to Taylor Goebel, our S.U. Practicum, for pulling together the pics, links, and basic info. to help you find the CD you liked best, Just Opened!
Kara Dahl Russell

Friday, April 3, 2015

Just Opened - April 3rd, 2015 - Musicologists & Arrangers

A wide variety of music today, Just Opened.
NEXT Friday, we begin our WSCL "Sounds of Spring" fundraiser... today we end the WSDL portion of the drive.  It's easy to support the station online... just click the red button at the top right of the page....

Mozart: The Piano Sonatas
Luisa Guembes-Buchanan, piano
Guembes-Buchanan's Official Website
ISBN# 7 00587 95290 6   -   2 CD Set
Concert pianist, musicologist and educator, Luisa Guembes-Buchanan was born in Lima, Peru, where she received her early musical education at the Conservatorio Nacional de Música. Ms. Guembes-Buchanan holds degrees in Performance and Musicology from the Manhattan School of Music, C.W. Post College, New York University and Boston University.  Her recordings demonstrate a particular fondness & scholarship of Beethoven.  In addition to her numerous Master Classes, Ms. Guembes-Buchanan is a founding member of several teaching and performing organizations dedicated to promoting young performer's education and to facilitating performance opportunities for them. As a musicologist, she has lectured and participated in panel discussions in the United States and Latin America.

New York Philharmonic Chamber Soloists
New York Philharmonic's Official Website
ISBN# 0 90404 94392 8
GIFT-GIVER'S DELIGHT.  These chamber arrangements of popular favorite songs from the American Songbook make for easy listening in the best sense of the word.  Magnificent, world class performers of the Philharmonic Chamber Soloists easily withstand attentive listening, just as well as the mix of well-known popular melodies makes for perfect backgound music for dinner parties.

Horn Music of Randall Faust
Andrew Pelletier, horn
Faust's Official Website
More info on Pelletier
MSR 1168
ISBN# 6 81585 1168 2 1
New music for horn and keyboards.  The variety of keyboards keeps this CD particularly fresh.  All of the works by composer Randall Faust (b. 1947).  He has been the recipient of the ASCAPlus Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers every year since 1990.  He is known for his teaching and musicology of horn and brass.  Hornist Andrew Pelletier is a grammy award winning soloist and chamber musician.  Critics have said he is, "a soloist cabable of anything on his instrument."

Les Arts Florissants
William Christie, conductor
Arts-Florissants's Official Website
Erato 43182  -  3 CD Set
ISBN# 8 09274 31822 0
My Delight of the Week.  A major release from 2002 of the complete opera "Zoroastre" by Rameau.  We heard selections from the first act today in our 2 o'clock hour.   Without the overt Masonic imagery of Mozart's "Magic Flute," this story incorporates some of the personages and ideas for a story of mythic proportions.  A young love of two ernest people striving for righteousness and brotherhood, in a good-against-evil story where the young lady in question is kidnapped and taken to the underworld to be a blood sacrifice...  This particular production uses double casting of the good and evil leader/priest which helps clarify the story (the good priest/father figure also plays the good Zoroastre; and the same doubling goes for the evil priest playing the gnome king).  As with much french opera, dance music abounds... and lots of recitative as well... which can try the patience of some.  Some of my favorite melodies can also be found here.

Special thanks to our S.U. practicum Taylor Goebel for pulling together the weblinks, pics, and basic info. to help you locate the music you like best.  Join us next week for more new releases, Just Opened.
Kara Dahl Russell

Friday, March 27, 2015

Just Opened - March 27th, 2015

We began our new releases early today, with selections played from this first CD as part of our after-the-news-at-noon-series.

Mary Queen of Scotts & Her World
Parthenia (consort of viols)
Ryland Angel, tenor & countertenor
Dongsok Shin, virginal
Parthenia's official website
ISBN# 6 81585 14902 7
Featured today as part of our series "Courtly Love and The Cult of The Virgin" was a new release by Parthenia, dedicated to Mary Queen of Scotts.  We played the group of works from the Court of Queen Elizabeth I, songs and fancies.  Pathenia have performed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and have a growing international reputation for their warmth of sound, musical excellence, ensemble playing, and illuminating performances of historic music.  (Aired earlier today and this week, in connection with our after-the-news-at-noon series "Courtly Love and the Cult of the Virgin.")

Barbara Padilla, soprano
London Symphony Orchestra
Moon Moosic Records 1401
ISBN# 8 88295 06090 5
Classical Crossover Singer Padilla has come to international attention through her appearance on "America's Got Talent," but she had plenty of legitimate credentials.  She began singing in highschool, studying with the premier voice teacher of her home town, Guadelajara Mexico.  After completing her Masters in 2004 from Houston University's Moores School of Music, she was being cast in operas and also teaching voice.  She has been open about her battle with Hodgkin's Lymphoma and was expected to never sing again after agressive chemotherapy and radiation, but in 2009 she sang on America's Got Talent followed by a 13 week concert series in Las Vegas.   Her favorites include arias, masterworks, and lighter pop fare, and her style is now referred to as "popera."  This CD showcases her diversity with mixed arrangements, some works with orchestral backing, others with chamber group.

Complete Works for Harpsichord 
Karen Flint, Harpsichord
PL21401 - 3 CD Set
ISBN# 8 88295 07195 6
My Delight of the Week.  Karen Flint has incredible musical perspicacity.  Her body of recorded work for harpsichord, both solos and with the Brandywine Baroque continue to amaze.  Having recorded complete works of some of the better known french Harpsichord masters, she now provides us with a lesser known name, and intoduces many of us to the works of Nicolas Lebeque and Jacques Hardel. 

Trans-Cultural Bonding
Arkady Leytush, conductor/arranger
MSR 1518
ISBN# 6 81585 15182 2
Prolific living composer (born in 1932 in New York) Sisler has created a body of work that focuses on world peace.  These are orchestral works that blend in folk music and instrumental traditions from around the world.  Conductor Arkady Leytush of the Israeli Symphony Orchestra was orchestrator of many of these works, and conducts the various orchestras on this CD.  Sisler's interweaving of folk melodies from various countries help make these works very accessible, and the artistic intention behind the works warm the heart.

Oboe and Other Things
Colin Maier, oboe
CMCD 002
ISBN# 0 61297 44041 2
Multi-talented is an understatement for the ebullient performer musician Colin Maier.   Early on in his career in music, he incorporated his sense of humor and acrobatic skill.  He plays at least 13 instruments at a level of recording multiple parts on his CDs, and he has composer friends who have written works specifically for him to record all the parts.  He has traveled and toured extensively as a solo performer and with the internationally acclaimed Quartetto Gellato.  He programs his CDs with a variety that both "prove his mettle" and satisfy the listener with an interplay of works new and familiar, all with an ear to pleasing his audience.  His CD covers display his wit, and ... all this paired with a creamy smooth playing sound that has made him a sought after soloist with many groups and orchestras.

Special Thanks to our S.U. practicum Taylor Goebel for pulling together the pictures and basic info. on the CDs to help you find the music you like a little more easily!
Kara Dahl Russell

Friday, March 20, 2015

Just Opened - March 20th, 2015

We continue our Just Opened celebration of Women's History month with many new releases by female artists, performers and composers, performing solo and in "concert" with others.

Yolanda Kondonassis, harp
Jason Vieaux, guitar
ACD 71297
ISBN# 7 8786 7 1297 2 2
Jason Vieaux is riding high right now, having just won a 2015 Classical Grammy for his solo guitar CD, "Play."   He and harpist Yolanda Kondonassis have worked together for quite a while, and the blend of their playing on this CD is mesmerizing.  There are many times when the listener can not tell which is playing, and if only one is playing, or both.  Some of this is a natural sonic compatibility of two plucked string instruments, and it is heightened by the magnificent playing of both performers.  Several of these works are new commissions, some (Like Hovhanness's "Spirit of Trees") have been around for awhile, but still rarely performed.  As with any CD of new compositions, there are challenging works that may not be a favorite, but many of the works have the rhythm and spirit one expects of spanish guitar, making this CD of mostly new or unfamiliar works highly accessible.

Simone Dinnerstein, piano
Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra
Kristjan Jarvi, cond.
Sony Classical Records
ISBN# 8 8875 03245 2 8
My Delight of the Week.  For someone who tried to publicize herself as a musical "outsider," Simone Dinnerstein is about as hot in music circles as anyone.  In 7 years she has had 12 major label releases, both solo and working with big names like Zuill Bailey, and - as here - with major orchestras.  While Dinnerstein is best known for major solo keyboard works of Bach, and more complex and introspective Romantic era works, the program on this CD is sure to please.  Ravel's Piano Concerto in G is paired with an infectious, melodic new work by Philip Lasser called "The Circle and the Child." (Lasser's work is the reason that this CD is my delight of the week.  What a pleasant surprise!)  The program is topped off with Gershwin's ever popular, "Rhapsody In Blue."

Maria Wildhaber, bassoon
MSR 1517
ISBN# 6 81585 15172 3
Wildhaber's rich basson sound takes us through a variety of sound worlds on mostly new works, including her own compostion for two bassons - arrangements of Bulgarian folk music.  As with most "recital" CDs today, some of the works are technically and melodically challenging, but there are many others here that provide a velvety rich melody and that smooth creamy sound.  Obviously, a solo bassoon CD is not going to be the first thing that people think they have to rush out and buy, but for people who play the bassoon, and those who understand and love reed instruments, the works here provide new repertoire possibilities, and fine listening.

Quire Cleveland
Ross W. Duffin, cond.
QC 104
ISBN# 8 88295 14733 0
Another Choral gem from Quire Cleveland, and this one in plenty of time to have in advance for all the summer patriotic festivals.  Quire Cleveland has been intentional about creating a catalogue of their repertoire, which results in a wealth of options for their audience for the Holidays and in between.The works here include settings of religious and secular works, mostly by American Composers ranging from John Playford to Amy Beach and Nathaniel Dett.

Thanks again to our S.U. Practicum Taylor Goebel for her help pulling together the pictures and basic info. on the CDs to help you get more information on your favorites.
Kara Dahl Russell

Monday, March 16, 2015

"Courtly Love and The Cult of The Virgin" Resources

If you have been following our after-the-news-at-noon series for Women's History Month, "Courtly Love and The Cult of the Virgin" we hope that you've noticed this is one of the most complex music history series that we have done here on WSCL-FM.  And, it's just the tip of the ice berg!  If you are interested in finding out more, here are our resources.  

Special thanks to DPR's S.U. practicum student, Taylor Goebel, who was my reasearch assistant on this series, and was especially helpful in gathering biographies.  And she also put together the resource listing by topics for easier use.

Our time period of focus, 1000 - 1200 is so incredibly rich in social, political, religious and artistic growth, that even this extended series just scratches the surface.  If you are interested in finding out more, we wanted to give you places to go.  (And of course, we always encourage you to find out more at your local Public Library.)

Civilisation: The Complete SeriesI've actually been mulling this idea about for almost 2 years.  The springboard idea for the series came from the BBC series (available on DVD) called "Civilization" written and hosted by Lord Kenneth Clark.  The series is widely available online on DVD through many online retailers, and I think it is one of the best series ever made.  His premise is that architecture, literature, art, and music combine to define periods of Civilzation.  The 3rd episode, on Courtly Love, sparked the idea for this series, perhaps because he said he found the works of Cretienne de Troyes unreadable!

My main resource for this series was the DVD lecture series "The High Middle Ages" taught by Dr. Philip Daileader of William and Mary College.  The depth, complexity, and amount of material in this series is monumental, and his coverage of it is magnificent, and includes many "reality checks" to help the viewer restructure the mindset to try to understand how things were viewed by people who lived during this time period.  If you've been interested in my series, you'll find this course a great place to find out much, much more:
In credit to the folks at Great Courses, they are a great resource for me personally, and I have purchased many related courses which I have viewed that have informed my thought and knowledge of this time period.

Resources by Topic 
Marian Devotion
Arthurian Legend
Biographies on Charlemagne, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and Marie de Champagne
Courtly Love
Andreas Capellanus, The Art of Courtly Love
William Farina, Chretien de Troyes and the Dawn of Arthurian Romance
Other Resources that covered a variety of topics


The views expressed in the posts and comments of this blog do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Public Radio Delmarva, its staff, members, underwriters, Salisbury University, or the Salisbury University Foundation. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author. No information on this blog will be understood as official.